Blogathon Vancouver 2008: "Y" is for Yasutaro Yamagaby
I bet you thought I was going to do “Yaletown” eh? Well due to my trusty Vancouver History source I was able to do a quick search of the Hall of Fame and come up with Yasutaro Yamaga.
Born in Japan, Yasutaro Yamaga came to British Columbia in 1908. After working as a labourer, he purchased ten acres of land near Haney, B.C. Yamaga led the Japanese Farmer’s Union in the Fraser Valley. After World War II, he moved to Ontario, where at Beamsville he established the first home for Japanese Canadian senior citizens (Nipponia Home) in Canada. [BC Archives]
The Nipponia Home was the first extended care facility and seniorsâ€™ home for Japanese Canadians. Yasutaro Yamaga was particularly concerned about the issei with no relatives or families to care for them in their old age. Using his personal savings he provided a haven for the elderly Japanese Canadians by establishing Nipponia Home in 1958 where they would be able to use Japanese language and enjoy Japanese food. [NAJC]
This is an excellent way to remember that Canada has always been multicultural and much of it was built and established with the help of people of all ethnic backgrounds who came together as Canadians.
Yamaga Yasutaro was born on the 30th day of the 3rd month of the 19th year of Meiji (1886) in Toyohama, Toyoda County, Hiroshima Prefecture. He came to Canada on the mail steamer Aki Maru in 1908 with “a dream of becoming the owner of 5000 acres of golden field of the Canadian Prairies.”
You can read more about Yasaturo in this PDF from the University of British Columbia. Written in 1977 this paper is a really interesting read.
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An important post, and about someone I never knew. I like that y’all care about mentioning these oft-forgotten or little-known people who made such an impact in the lives of others.
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